IMAX is closing its virtual reality arcade in Toronto
Last year's outbreak of VR fever has been contained, it seems, prompting at least one major player in the entertainment industry to do an about-face midgame.
IMAX has confirmed that it will be shutting down its relatively new, state-of-the-art virtual reality arcade at Toronto's Scotiabank Theatre in early 2019, barely more than a year after opening it in the first place.
Launched in November of 2017, the IMAX VR Centre was the first of its kind in Canada and one of only four such venues worldwide (after New York, Los Angeles and Shanghai).
The Mississauga-based cinema tech giant has since launched three more centres... and shut down four.
Now, with only three locations remaining—one in Toronto, one in Bangkok and one in L.A.—IMAX plans to kill off its VR program entirely.
"In connection with the company's previously-announced strategic review of its virtual reality pilot initiative, the company has decided to close its remaining VR locations and write-off certain VR content investments," reads an SEC filing uncovered by Variety earlier this week.
A spokesperson for IMAX confirmed in a statement that all three of its locations would be closing sometime before this spring.
"With the launch of the IMAX VR centre pilot program our intention was to test a variety of different concepts and locations to determine which approaches work well," reads the statement.
"After a trial period with VR centres in multiplexes, we have decided to conclude the IMAX VR centre pilot program and close the remaining three locations in Q1 2019."
IMAX CEO Richard Gelford had alluded to the fact that this might be coming in an earnings call earlier this year, telling investors that "consumer reaction was extremely positive, but the numbers just weren’t there."
Now remains the question of what Cineplex plans to do with the recently-gutted first floor of its theatre on Richmond Street. Might I suggest a drug store? They're all the rage downtown.
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